Joice Wirkus had such a blast the first time around, she decided to return to campus for grad school a year after earning her bachelor’s in communications.
Among the five year's worth of memories bound to come up the next time Petsmart’s vice president of marketing reunites with her closest Illini friends:
1. “Dancing for hours at Sky Light with my friends, being careful to save at least enough money to buy a La Bamba burrito at the end of the evening. On occasion, I would have them fill one of the large cups for soda with their hot sauce so I could drink it later. Mmmmm.”
2. “Studying with my friends at Treno’s, dining on their infamous Irish Nachos.”
3. “Freezing while walking over a mile to Kam’s or CO’s in the cold, cold winter without a jacket because, well, we were too cool to carry jackets into the bar.”
4. “Playing darts with my sister, Lori — also an Illini, class of ’95 — at White Horse Inn on Green Street. In fact, the first night the upstairs beer garden opened, in 1994, my sister met Kirk Hunter, her future husband. They still have their White Horse T-shirts and beer bucket they gave out that night.”
5. “Gaining confidence with public speaking in grad school, as a TA for Advertising 382. Professor (Cele) Otnes was a new mom and her daughter Emily was sick on occasion. She’d ask me to teach the lecture with several hundred students. I credit this experience for my comfort in my professional life speaking in front of large groups.
“Above all, I remember the friendships. Next week, I fly back from Arizona to meet six of my close college friends for a girls’ weekend.
“Distance, jobs, families and life have happened to us all over time. But 30 years later, I am so proud to call these successful, kind and fabulous ladies my friends.”